Another exciting primary and another close finish. The picture is much clearer; it is now down to a two person race in each party. Here’s how I see it playing out for the candidates…
John McCain – Huge win for McCain as he proves he can win a closed primary. He is now a clear front runner as he has won more contested primaries than anyone else and holds an overall lead in delegates. It’s not over by a long shot, but with a Giuliani endorsement likely coming and polling data favorable in important states that will be voting next week, he’s got to be feeling pretty good about his chances on Super Tuesday. I’m not normally a believer in endorsements, but I think the Crist endorsement was crucial. It’ll be interesting to see if McCain rewards Crist if he wins the nomination.
Mitt Romney – Romney needed this, no question. He faces a difficult battle, but he’s not out of it yet. But he needs to do something fast or Super Tuesday could be a long night for him. His best bet now is to try to mobilize enough anti-McCain sentiment to get him some major victories, which so far he has been unable to do.
Rudy Giuliani – Rudy is done. I’m a big fan, but his late state strategy simply didn’t pan out. Most likely he will be out of the race soon and throwing his support to McCain. Between Giuliani and Fred Thompson, this election has completely discredited the late state primary strategy.
Mike Huckabee – He has no chance of winning at this point, and I suspect he’s only staying in to help McCain and possibly play kingmaker should it come to that at the Republican convention.
Ron Paul – Just as done as he was at this time last year.
Hillary Clinton – The only Democrat to feel any impact from the primary at all, and even so, it’s only a slight one. She gets zero delegates, but she does get a symbolic victory which might give her a little steam going into Super Tuesday.
Cross posted at Tennessee Free